Rebuffing Planner Recommendations, Illinois Officials Approve New Expressway

The approval of the Illiana Expressway by the CMAP Policy Committee rejects the recommendation of the organization's own planners and years of regional cooperation. Yonah Freemark says the decision will have an effect on regional planning nationwide.

"The [Illiana Expressway] project was supported by the relevant state departments of transportation as an essential complement to the existing mobility system and an economic development tool," notes Freemark. "But the decision to add it to the regional plan suggests a breakdown in what had been until recently a metropolitan-wide consensus about which projects to fund. Though the adoption of the project does not mean the end of the plan, it does imply that sticking to a regional plan in the face of political pressure to build other projects is difficult, if not impossible—especially because the decision-making process that adds newly desired projects to regional plans does not require eliminating funding for other, previously prioritized projects." 

"Following this vote, it will take significant work to reaffirm the mission of CMAP, which had been a model for American regional planning organizations."

Full Story: In the Chicago region, a setback for regional planning

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